Australia in South Africa 2014: Australia’s 3rd test selection conundrums

Much has been made in the media over the last 24 hours of who will play for Australia in the 3rd test at Newlands starting on Saturday.

To me it is simple: if Shane Watson is fit, and by fit I mean able to bowl a minimum of 15 overs a day, he must play and he must bat at number 6. Shaun Marsh must come out of the current side. Two reasons for this: first, he was an injury induced replacement for Watson in the first place and second, Michael Clarke MUST bat at number 4. Marsh’s hundred at Centurion was a great knock but a pair at St George’s seals his fate.

There are broad grumblings about changing the bowling attack. I can not countenance such a move for these reasons:

1. The inclusion of Watson will release some of the workload on the core fast bowling trio how were, understandably, tired by the end of the 2nd test.

2. Pattinson and Bird have not played in a red ball cricket game (other than a centre wicket practice) since their injuries in England over six months ago. We can not expect them to step up into this last test off no significant bowling.

So for me there is only one change: Watson for Marsh. If Watson is not fit by the criterion noted above I would be tempted to play Henriques in Marsh’s place but would only do so after looking at the pitch.

Anymore changes than those posited here would just be a knee jerk reaction to a single loss and would be neither good for the balance of the team nor its harmony.

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